The danger of polypharmacy is that we can’t always predict the interactions between medications, or fully understand the possible consequences of these combinations.
While all age groups can be affected by polypharmacy, the elderly are more vulnerable to the possible side effects of untested drug combinations, and also represent the age group more likely to be suffering from chronic diseases or conditions, thus resulting in more medication.
A lack of communication between doctors and patients is a major contributor to the rise of polypharmacy, as it is often the case that a well-meaning doctor prescribes treatment for a specific condition without communicating with the patient about other prescriptions, over the counter drugs, or dietary supplements they may also be taking. Patients who use complementary and alternative medicines often fail to share this information with their doctors, believing either that the combination will have no consequence, or that their doctor may frown upon such alternative therapies.
At this point, there is still much to understand about the way different drugs interact inside our bodies. Until more research has been completed, patients should be wary of adding too many prescriptions to their daily drug regimens, and should always practice transparency with medical professionals.
UTI Symptoms Pose as Dementia
You might be surprised to learn that a urinary tract infection (UTI) in an older person looks a lot like dementia. While the symptoms of a UTI in a younger person are common and easy to understand, an elderly UTI is more difficult to diagnose, and can present itself in a variety of confusing ways.
One of the strongest indicators of a UTI in an older person is a sudden change in behavior. A UTI can mimic the symptoms of dementia, leaving a person confused and sometimes agitated, often with poorer than usual motor skills, and an inability to perform tasks that were easily completed the day before. While other symptoms of a UTI may be present, often this behavioral change is the only indicator, causing concerned family members to see these symptoms as a sign of dementia. Luckily, if a medical professional is consulted and a UTI turns out to be present, treatment is relatively quick and straightforward.